Vaping and e-cigarettes (e-cigs) are unsafe, especially for kids, teens, and young adults. Many people turn to e-cigarettes when they want to quit smoking traditional cigarettes. Is turning to e-cigarettes and vaping a good choice for someone who wants to quit smoking?
What is vaping?
Vaping is the act of inhaling the vapor from an e-cigarette or other vaping devices.
Is vaping less harmful than smoking cigarettes?
While there are different points of view on this matter, experts like Dr. Michael Blaha, M.D., M.P.H., director of clinical research at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease states that “Vaping is less harmful than traditional smoking.” Dr. Blaha also says that “there’s almost no doubt that they expose you to fewer toxic chemicals than traditional cigarettes.”
Do these statements mean that vaping isn’t bad for your health?
Dr. Blaha goes on to point out the harmful effects e-cigarettes have on a person’s health.
- Nicotine is the primary agent in both e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes
- Nicotine is highly addictive.
- Nicotine is a toxic substance.
- Nicotine raises your blood pressure and spikes your adrenaline.
- Nicotine increases your heart rate and the likelihood of having a heart attack.
- E-cigarettes are just as addictive as traditional cigarettes
- Vaping and using e-cigarettes may be as addictive as heroin and cocaine.
- E-cigarette users get more nicotine than from a tobacco product.
How addictive is vaping and e-cigarettes?
According to the surgeon general, e-cigarette use among U.S. middle and high school students increased 900% during 2011-2015. In 2011, a reported 1% of middle and high school girls used e-cigarettes and 2% of boys used them. In 2018, that number has drastically risen to 19% in girls and 23% in boys.
What is the appeal of e-cigarettes?
Marketing for e-cigarettes appeals heavily to our youth and younger audiences. After all, if you didn’t want to appeal to that demographic, you could spend the $125 million a year on advertising to the older generation.
According to the surgeon general, “many themes in e-cigarette marketing, including sexual content and customer satisfaction, are parallel to themes and techniques that the tobacco industry aimed at youth and young adults in their advertising and promotion of conventional cigarettes.”
68% of e-cigarette users in high school use flavored vape. These flavors include menthol, fruit, chocolate, sweets, alcohol, and candy. It’s no surprise that youth who view e-cigarette advertisements are more likely to vape than youth who are not exposed to them. Vaping and e-cigarette marketing is extremely influential, making e-cigarettes a $2.5 billion business in the U.S.
The bottom line on vaping and e-cigarettes:
- Because vaping is “new”, it is not known how it affects our bodies over time.
- Nicotine is VERY addictive and toxic and can slow brain development, affect memory and concentration as well as learning, self-control, attention, and mood.
- Vapor in e-cigarettes is NOT made of water. It is made of chemicals that are harmful to your body.
- E-cigs and vaping will irritate and damage the lungs.
- Can lead to smoking conventional cigarettes and other forms of tobacco use.
- Flavoring additives and stabilizers have not been tested for safety via inhalation.
- Second-hand vapor is not harmless.
If you have questions or concerns about vaping and e-cigarettes, talk to your provider and get the answers you need. If your Primary Care Provider is here at Caswell Family Medical Center, give us a call at 336-694-9331 to set up an appointment.